Reasons Why Sump Pumps Fail

Anyone who’s experienced a flooding in their basement will attest to how crucial sump pumps are. Besides keeping homes from flooding, sump pumps are also used to lift water from underground storage tanks. Whatever the usage, a failed pump is always a nuisance, and, as anyone who’s operated liquid handling machines will tell you, failures are quite common!

Most often, sump pump failures are caused by poor maintenance and ignorance rather than the category as a whole being flawed. Here are five reasons that commonly lead to sump pump failure.

1. The pump is not the right size
When a pump needs to move vast quantities of water but lacks the horsepower to do so, it can become overwhelmed. This can cause failure or a substantial reduction to lifespan. This is occurs most often due to overheating and wear and tear. Does that mean you should get a large pump to overcompensate? No, unfortunately. A pump can experience a similar burnout when it is too large for the job as well. Always purchase a sump pump that is the right size for the task at hand.

2. Installation done wrong
Many times, following the manufacturer’s instructions alone does not guarantee a fault free installation. Take the pump head for instance. The height to which a pump can raise water is called the pump head, and the suction condition has an influence on it. Since most sump pumps simply apply a constant pressure to suck water at one end and discharge it at the other, lowering the point at which water is sucked in can reduce the head, preventing the pump from performing its function adequately. Factors like this are best kept in mind during installation.

3. Lack of a check valve on the discharge line
Simply put, a check prevents water from flowing in the wrong direction, otherwise known as backflow. This can occur if water pressure is greater than what the pump can handle or if the pump is not performing well enough. In the absence of a check valve, water can flow back into the motor, which may cause irreparable damage to a pump.

4. Lack of an air relief hole in the discharge line
While starting a pump, the motor has to get rid of the air present in the discharge pipe. This can put additional stress on the pump and reduce its lifespan. This problem can be easily overcome by just drilling a relief hole in the discharge pipe through which excess air pressure can be relieved.

5. A faulty switch
A switch is commonly operated using a float. Anything that prevents the float from switching from an OFF to an ON position or vice-versa can render the mechanism ineffective. This can usually be rectified easily by getting rid of the obstruction that’s causing the float to malfunction.

While these are some common issues that can cause a sump pump to fail, you should also keep in mind that all sump pumps require regular maintenance to function properly. Also, abnormalities such as a power surge can also render a sump pump useless if proper protection is not provided. Last but not the least, the importance of keeping the various pump parts and inlets and outlets clean and free of obstructions cannot be overstated.

For more information or to set up a consultation on your pump needs, please get in touch on or call toll-free from across Canada on 1 800 367 4160.